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December 15, 2009

The Lobster Roll-Off - Chapter VIII - Yankee Lobster

Lobster Roll - Yankee Lobster Dominic Armato

Kelly's is tough to follow. Unfair, really. But our next stop on the Roll-Off certainly captures the spirit of the town, a place opened by Italian immigrants that goes by the name of Yankee Lobster.

Yankee LobsterDominic Armato

Yankee Lobster's in the little industrial area just east of downtown, near the convention center, where its small retail front is nestled into a larger wholesale operation. For an add-on to a seafood plant, it's far cozier than most, a comfortable little dining room that seats about 15-20 and doubles as a small fish market. Fried seafood dominates in typical Boston fashion, but the menu's more extensive than most, including steamed clams, some other baked and grilled items and nondescript non-seafood items. They seem to have some pretty reasonable daily specials, even if I wouldn't trust the listings on the website (currently shown, the specials for November 31st -- you read that right). On the day we visited, the normally $17 lobster roll was a $14 lunchtime special. Good timing!

Lobster Roll - Yankee LobsterDominic Armato

As you might expect from the on-site retail outlet for a lobster fishery, the meat's incredibly fresh. It's kind of a medium dice with very little in the way of larger chunks, and its most notable feature is that, as far I can tell, there's no mayo whatsoever. Or if there is, it's undetectable, at least to me. It seems like an unadulterated pile of fresh lobster meat. The split roll is lightly toasted, if a touch gummy, and there's a small pile of shredded lettuce separating the lobster from the bun. I'm not sure I understand why it's there, but it doesn't exactly detract from the experience, so I consider it neither a positive nor a negative. I'm not sure whether the size was adjusted for the special price, but it was definitely on the smaller side as compared to the others I've sampled thus far. I couldn't knock the freshness of the lobster, but this one taught me that while there's definitely such a thing as too much, I like the mayo. The roll was served with a slice of lemon, so I went ahead and gave it a shot for one bite. Not an improvement. Or at least, it just didn't feel like what I've come to know as a lobster roll. When the lobster meat is so completely unadorned, I kind of wonder why you bother putting it on bread at all.

That said, it's some beautiful, fresh meat, which counts for something, even if it isn't my thing. The question, for me, really came down to whether I prefer not enough mayo or too much mayo. Unsurprisingly, I come down on the side of too much mayo, so Yankee Lobster drops into the rankings just behind Belle Isle. It's delicious for what it is, just way too minimal for my tastes.

Yankee Lobster
300 Northern Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
Mon - Sat10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Sun10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  1) Kelly's Roast Beef
2) B&G Oysters
3) The Clam Box
4) Neptune Oyster
5) Belle Isle Seafood
6) Yankee Lobster
7) Skipjack's
8) Fred's Sea Foods


All of these great lobster pictures are making my allergy act up!!

I can't wait until your home version hits the board. Until then, I am enjoying your journey.

My earlier description of the lobster roll phenomenon is being validated in that a place with "Roast Beef" in their name is the leader. The only place with lobster in their name is in 6th!!!

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